It’s been a while since I’ve done one of these but some recent news has convinced me that I should start it up again. When Curiosity landed on Mars I stayed up way too late into the night to make sure the cutest little laser-wielding robot ever landed safely.What I remember most was what one of the folks in the JPL said right after they confirmed a safe landing, “Let’s see where our Curiosity takes us.” Cheesy as hell, sure, but it gave me goosebumps.
I’m not sure if I’ve said it on here, but to my mind curiosity is the most underrated human trait. I simply can’t understand people that don’t want to learn random stuff whenever they can. I. Just. Don’t. Get. It. I meet people all the time that are amazed about the random useless stuff I know and they want to know how I picked it all up. I read. That’s all. I sometimes want to shout at people who can’t see past the tiny speck of their own lives to the marvelous wonder that is the universe. Use that big brain for something, will ya?
Sorry about the mini-rant… Anyway, as part my own battle against mental atrophy I’ll share some of the coolest and most awesome stuff I read in science news every week.
Uno: This first piece comes from my latest obsession. I haven’t shared it on here yet, mostly because I wasn’t sure anyone who came here looking for my writerly blog would be the slightest bit interested in aquariums. However, if that’s not the case let me know in the comments and I’ll share more about aquariums than you’ll ever want to know. I promise. Anywho, here’s a story about some male snails that have it pretty rough. Not only do they have to play Mr. Mom to the prospective brood, but they can even get stuck watching baby snails that don’t even belong to them.
Dos: From a new obsession to an old one: horses. Recent research has determined that specialized gaits in horses can be tracked to a single gene. Gene DMRT3 is used in the production of neurons in the horse’s spine, and thus can alter the way the horse’s limbs are controlled.
Tres: Astronomy news, just because it’s one of my favorite topics. The discovery of a possibly habitable planet in a binary star system has all the astronomers aflutter.
Quatro: You knew there was going to be some Curiosity news in here somewhere, didn’t you? The first human voice heard on another planet is officially Charlie Boulden, the administrator of NASA.
Cinco: More astronomy, just cuz. An interesting paradox regarding the most widely accepted theory of how the moon came into being.
That’s all for this week, kiddies. I hope you enjoyed your scientific snack. More to come next week!
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Loved this book, with a capital L. In fact, I wish I had more stars today. I found this gem via the Dark Urban Fantasy Blog: http://www.darkurbanfantasy.com/
So much good here, I barely know where to begin. Dante Valentine is a great heroine, maybe one of my favorites of all time. She’s foul-mouthed, sassy, and doesn’t take crap from anyone. That occasionally makes her a little hard-nosed, but the way her character is built up makes that fitting. Her relationships are frequently hostile and always amusing. Japhrimel is another great character. His growth throughout the book made me smile.
Dante is “persuaded” to take on a job by none other than Lucifer himself–find a demon and return an item he stole to hell. Danny is reluctant until Lucifer explains that the demon is a serial killer she’s been after for some time.
Plenty of action and some cool bits of magic make this an exciting and interesting read. Probably not the best choice for die-hard paranormal romance fans, but a must read for lovers of urban fantasy.
I’m in the middle of editing the second book in the Broods world, and I thought as a special treat I’d offer you a peek at Marked by Odin. Here’s a snippet from chapter 1:
Gunni sniffed several times, his muzzle lifted high. The cold air tickled the labyrinthine passages of his nose. Scents of fear and pain assaulted him, even from a few hundred feet away. Brand had sent him ahead to scout the Vancouver brood, and what he had to report was not encouraging. Madness was the best way to describe the events taking place in the valley below him.
He’d been raised in a relatively modern brood that shared a city with humans and blended in with them whenever possible. The chaos in front of him reminded him of the barbaric history of their kind that he’d heard about, but never imagined still existed. One female was dragged across the dirty snow between two dwellings. Her white-blond hair reminded him of Alice. The ache of her loss was still agonizing. Gods, how he missed her.
Gunni had trouble quelling the urge to run in and rescue another female set upon by male who laughed every time she screamed. Half a dozen males fought in the central clearing in front of an old-style longhouse for a haunch of meat that was quickly forgotten amid the violence of the exchange.
Going down there wouldn’t solve anything, and he would end up in an altercation where he would be vastly outnumbered. He was supposed to observe and report back to Brand, not try to resolve the issues himself. He knew that, and yet, turning his back was one of the hardest things he’d ever done.
The first few steps were the worst, but once he got up to speed, the joy of running through the winter night spurred him onward. He covered ground swiftly, his four paws chewing up the miles almost without effort.
The land here was beautiful, and more untouched than any place he’d ever known. Located in the mountains a few hours north and west of Vancouver and tucked away at the edge of a provincial park, the brood compound was a strangely anachronistic oasis of wildness in the modern world they inhabited. Though he’d be raised in what he’d thought a rural area, the wolf within him had pined for the expansive forests and hillsides.
He didn’t slow when he crossed the east-bound lanes of the divided highway. The light coating of new snow made the blacktop slick. He traversed the median in two jumps and emerged onto the west-bound lanes. Too late, he heard the squeal of tires. He turned and saw headlights closing with alarming speed.
He didn’t feel the pain of the impact. One moment, he was aware, and the next instant, he wasn’t.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Ill Wind is the kind of book I love to read: sassy main character, interesting fantasy aspects, a sprinkling of romance. Unsurprisingly, I inhaled the book, and really enjoyed it.
In general I thought Caine’s characterizations were brilliant. Jo is fun and independent, just enough girl power but not over the line into ridiculous. I adored David. There are a bunch of great side characters, Lewis, Star, Paul, and Bad Bob.
The world building was just right for me. Enough detail to make things clear, but not so much that I feel like I’m wading through info-dumps through the first half of the book. There’s a lot I really like about this world and I can’t wait to read more.
I was a little irritated about why all the Djinn were so circumspect when they didn’t have to be. The cop out answer, of course, was that’s just how they are, but I didn’t really buy that. Why not just tell her what she needs to know? Arg!
The second book in the Broods world first draft has been officially completed. The title is now Marked by Odin. It’s currently in the very capable hands of my editor, Lynn McNamee of Red Adept Publishing. It came in at right around 59,000 words. I expect that to grow a bit in the second draft. Unlike most writers I generally add in each subsequent draft rather than remove. I think Broods fans will be happy with book 2, I know I am. I’m still targeting November 20th as the official release date for this one, the one year anniversary of the Broods release. There will be a really exciting giveaway associated with that release. I have a bunch of swag that I’ve been stockpiling for occasion, so keep your eyes peeled here for news about that.
Some other random writing news:
If you haven’t yet, go on over to the eFestival of Words website and sign up. The fun begins August 17th. Giveaways, panels, Q&As, and so much more, including a Scavenger Hunt designed by me! I also encourage you to go vote for the Best of the Independent eBook Awards in a variety of categories. *cough* You should definitely check out the Best Thriller category.
I’m diving into my next project, Songbird’s Lament, now. That’s the one I’m writing in a shared world with four other writers. I’m supposed to have that done for the middle of September. Not sure if I’m going to make it, we’ll have to see how the next few weeks goes. I have quite a bit of it outlined already, so hopefully it will come easily.
I also have an idea for a subsequent book that’s been kicking around for a couple of months and is finally taking shape. I’m really jazzed about this one. It’ll be a contemporary paranormal story concentrating more on magic than anything I’ve done so far. Also featured will be demons, a hot tattooed guy, and a surfer. Go ahead, try to figure it out, I dare you.
The thread title says it all. I’m giving away five copies of Elements on Goodreads until August 4th. Use the widget at the bottom of the post to sign up for a chance to win one!
Hmm, while I’m here, I might as well give a few more pieces of news. I know I’ve been lax in posting lately, but that’s because I’m working my butt off trying to finish the second Broods book. There are a lot of surprises in store for book two, things I didn’t even know were going to happen until they flew out the ends of my fingers. I am just about done now, just putting a final polish on the last few scenes before it goes off to my editor on July 30th. Right now I’m shooting for November 20th as the publish date to coincide with Broods’ one year anniversary.
Both Elements and Broods are on sale at Smashwords for 50% off for the month of July. Use coupon code SSW50 at checkout.
Don’t forget to sign up for the eFestival of Words in August if you haven’t yet. Prizes, Panels, a Scavenger Hunt (hosted by yours truly) and more great books than you can possibly read this year!